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It’s Time to Vote: Employees’ Voting Rights on Federal Election Day

Monday, October 21, 2019 is Federal Election Day. Under the Canada Elections Act, employees who are eligible to vote are entitled to three consecutive hours of time off to do so. These three consecutive hours (“voting time”) must fall within the following voting hours on polling day.

Electoral District Time Zone

Voting Hours

Mountain Time Zone

7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Pacific Time Zone

7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Employee Voting Time Entitlement

  • If an employee’s work schedule does not already accommodate voting time, the employer must “allow the time for voting that is necessary to provide those three consecutive hours.”
  • The employer has the right to determine which hours will be used to accommodate voting time.
  • On polling day, employees must be paid the same amount they would have been paid had they not exercised their right to voting time.

Example 1: An employee in Vancouver is scheduled to work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • The employer must adjust the schedule to allow for voting time. The employer could allow the employee to show up at 10:00 a.m. instead of 9:00 a.m., or the employer could allow the employee to leave at 4:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m. The employer could also permit the employee to be absent for three consecutive hours during the day. In any case, the employer cannot reduce pay for the scheduling adjustment.

Example 2: An employee in Vancouver is scheduled to work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • No scheduling adjustment is required. The employee already has three free consecutive hours during voting hours between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
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Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 

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